US uncovers an Iranian plot to assassinate former US officials

The member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Shahram Poursafi, is allegedly behind the plot

AP/EVAN VUCCI  -   Former National Security Adviser John Bolton

The US State Department has allegedly uncovered an Iranian plot, led by the Revolutionary Guard, to assassinate former White House national security adviser John Bolton during Donald Trump's presidency, in retaliation for the death of Quds Forces commander Qasem Soleimani in a US operation in January 2020.

According to the Justice Department indictment, Shahram Poursafi, 45, a Tehran native also known as Mehdi Rezayi, allegedly attempted to assassinate Bolton in an operation he planned to execute before the second anniversary of Soleimani's death on 3 January 2020. Rezayi was also charged in 2021 in a Washington D.C. court with planning a $300,000 payment for hired assassins to kill Bolton in the Washington metropolitan area. If convicted, Rezayi faces up to 25 years in prison for masterminding the assassination. 

AP/EVAN VUCCI - National security adviser John Bolton, during a news conference at the White House, Monday, Jan. 28, 2019, in Washington

Through his social media, the former Trump adviser has thanked the Justice Department for initiating criminal proceedings, as well as the FBI for tracking down the assassination plot. He warned that "Iranian leaders are liars, terrorists and enemies of the U.S. (...) They are a growing global threat". Meanwhile, Joe Biden's National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, said in a statement that the US government "will not back down from protecting Americans from violence and terrorism" and warned that "if Iran attacks any of our citizens, including those who work or have worked as civil servants, they will face serious consequences".

In addition to Bolton, US sources have leaked that Iran also reportedly tried to assassinate former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in an operation that would have cost $1 million.

PHOTO/ARCHIVO - Former Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo

This discovery comes at a particularly sensitive time for the US and Iran, as only a few days ago the EU reportedly presented the "final text" for a return to the Nuclear Deal. Despite the fact that the member states have shown themselves to be in favour of this as the most feasible solution, Iran has not yet expressed its opinion, although it is not expected to be positive.

This situation is compounded by Bolton's latest statements to Biden in which he asks him not to return to the nuclear agreement, which the Trump administration withdrew from in 2018. Thus, the former security adviser has stated that he remains "committed to making sure that this does not happen" because if it does, it would be "a wound for the United States". 

PHOTO/OFICINA DEL LÍDER SUPREMO IRANÍ - File photo of Revolutionary Guard General Qassem Soleimani, a U.S. airstrike near Baghdad airport, Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds force

In addition, US Attorney Matthew Olsen noted that this was "not the first time we have uncovered Iranian plots to take revenge against people on US soil... we will work tirelessly to expose and disrupt each of these efforts".

As revealed by the Justice Department, the Revolutionary Guard member allegedly tracked Bolton's steps to study his movements and proceed with his assassination. In addition, they have discovered that between 2021 and April 2022, Rezayi was in contact with hired assassins to carry out the assassination.

In this context, in the last exchange of messages recorded by the FBI, one of the assassins complained about lack of payment, a situation that Rezayi tried to alleviate by sending $100 in cryptocurrencies.

Americas Coordinator: José Antonio Sierra.